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March 13, 2013

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Nemanja Djurisic

Mark Fox


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll ask Coach Fox for his general thoughts on the Georgia team coming into the tournament, then we'll take your questions just for the two student athletes, excuse them and then finish up with Coach Fox.テつ Coach, if you would begin.
COACH FOX:テつ Well, we're excited to be in Nashville.テつ This is a great tournament.テつ I think it will be an outstanding tournament with the amount of parity we have in the league.テつ Certainly with 14 teams it's a more special event this year, so we come here very excited to be a part of it, really with I think an optimistic approach.テつ We like how we've been playing for the last month and a half, and hopefully we can play well and advance in this tournament.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll take questions for either of the two student athletes.

Q.テつ Kentavious and Nemanja, in general what's the motivation for this tournament?テつ Lot of times teams feel like they're playing for NCAA seeding and NCAA bid.テつ Is it for the SEC trophy?テつ Is it to get in the NIT?テつ Is it just to win the next game?
KENTATAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE:テつ Really we just plan to win.テつ We just come here with our mindset that we going to win the next game and we got to keep that mindset and stay focused and do that.
NEMANJA DJURISIC:テつ Exactly the same.テつ I mean that's how we worked throughout the whole season.テつ That's how we found success, focusing on the next game and enjoying playing each other and enjoying the week.テつ That's the most important thing.

Q.テつ This question is for Kentavious.テつ You raised your shooting percentage by 13 points this season.テつ Do you feel like you're more comfortable in the SEC the second time around?
KENTATAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE:テつ Yes, my second time around, I just found using the offense to my advantage and taking open shots that they give me.

Q.テつ Kentavious, obviously there was the 1-3 start for you guys.テつ Did you guys have to do anything drastic to sort of close the way you guys have so far or just focusing, narrow kind of vision in the next game?テつ What was your sort of process to maybe start to turn things around over the latter part of the season?
KENTATAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE:テつ Just came together and started playing hard.テつ That really turned things around for us.テつ We just kept doing each game.テつ We finished a lot of games, but right now we just got to continue to stay focused, keep believing in each other and keep moving forward.
NEMANJA DJURISIC:テつ I think we found the ways to score on the offense, find ways to play with each other best we can.テつ I think we learned how to play hard.テつ I think a lot of young guys contributed a lot late in the season, and I think just the experience that we all gained from the season kind of came in late and we started playing better and I think we're a really good team.テつ We play together and that's the most important.テつ I think that's it.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Other questions for either of the student athletes?テつ Okay, fellas.テつ We'll excuse you.テつ You can return to the locker room.
We'll take questions for Coach Fox.テつ If you'll raise your hand.

Q.テつ Coach, since the Texas A & M game back in January, your team has either won all your conference games or losing by no more than ten points.テつ Does that give you any extra momentum coming into this tournament?
COACH FOX:テつ Well, I think we've either won or had the games decided in the final, you know, possession or two.テつ So I think that we feel like we've played pretty consistent.テつ I think our team has a confidence level that when they play the game the right way that they'll have chances to win, and so the fact that we've been able to do that for, you know, several weeks, I think gives these guys some confidence going into the tournament.

Q.テつ Mark, what do you guys call upon when you lose a game in the last possession or call or whatever it might be to forge ahead, to not let that affect going forward?
COACH FOX:テつ You know, I think every game has been different.テつ You know, there were some games they were angry and it was straight anger that brought them back.テつ There was a couple games like that.テつ I think there were some other games when they just had pride in their team and pride in themselves, and we talk a lot in our program about, you know, showing up every day and so you're going to have tough times in life and athletics is a great tool to teach you how to deal with those things and, you know, all year we talk about, you know, showing up and getting your job done every day.テつ That's helped us also.テつ I think we've had a range of emotions from anger to pride and just, you know, testament to our character to show up and do all that we can do to win.

Q.テつ Mark, how have you -- obviously Kentavious is a huge part of what you guys do offensively.テつ How have you gone about flushing out roles for them and still giving Kentavious the freedom to operate in your system?
COACH FOX:テつ Kentavious and Nemanja were two of the problems early in the year.テつ Those guys did not play well.テつ They did not play well in November.テつ They didn't finish plays in a percentage that we wanted them to.テつ So, you know, I think the issue for us early were those guys weren't playing well offensively and our new guys, they weren't playing defensively, and really all that we've done is get those guys back to a level offensively that's been consistent and then our new players and our young players have all improved and become much more consistent performers.

Q.テつ Coach, obviously Kentavious after his announcement as player of the year there was a lot of NBA discussion.テつ What will be the actual process?テつ You've obviously went down the road with Lesley and Tompkins just a couple years ago.テつ What will be your process for advising them on that and do you have a strong opinion on it at this point?
COACH FOX:テつ Well, I've been through it several times, not just with those two kids, but I would say this is probably my ninth or tenth time through it with an underclassman.テつ I think the key in the entire situation is that we realize that we're talking about a young man's life.テつ This is a career and a life-changing decision.テつ It's one that -- decision will be made and it may not be made -- may be made in the spring, may be made a year from now.テつ It doesn't have to be made right away.テつ The key is that you get the accurate information to make that decision.
This is Kentavious's decision.テつ He'll do what's best for him.テつ It's not about anybody other than him.テつ It's not about Georgia, it's not about his family, it's about him.テつ And he's got a wonderful family that's very supportive, but we'll make sure the process will be that we get the accurate information from the NBA people who make decisions and I'll assist him in gathering that information and make sure that he has all the facts to weigh in the process.

Q.テつ Mark, you talked about playing angry.テつ I presume you mean it reacting to the games in the second half of the season, the SEC season.テつ At 2-7 to start, 1-4 SEC play, how did the team get off the mat at that point emotionally?
COACH FOX:テつ Well, I would say anger, there was only anger for a couple games.テつ At the Ole Miss game they were angry how that went down.テつ I think that when we were 2-7, we went into the season knowing that we were going to have freshmen and sophomores play major roles, and two of those games we lost in overtime and we just weren't good enough, we weren't playing well enough and we just, you know -- I think we have trusted in the process.テつ At 1-4 there was no panic because we played the Gators twice and played at Missouri and had the toughest part of our schedule.
So I think our team trusts in our coaching staff.テつ We've got really good young people who we believed would stay the course and really all we've done is that, just kept plugging along and stayed fully vested in the process.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for Coach Fox?テつ Raise your hand.テつ All right.テつ Thank you.
COACH FOX:テつ Okay.テつ Thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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